IU assistant coach forced to resign

IU assistant coach forced to resign

Senderoff was blamed for some calls to recruits that violated sanctions; official announcement by IU expected today

By Chris Korman, H-T sports writer

October 30, 2007

Assistant basketball coach Rob Senderoff gives directions to Indiana University players during a practice last year. Senderoff has been forced to resign after being involved in recruiting rule violations by members of the IU basketball coaching staff. An official IU announcement is expected today. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times
From the Oct. 30, 2007 Bloomington Herald-Times

Indiana University men’s basketball assistant coach Rob Senderoff has resigned at the university’s request, according to sources close to the situation.

An official announcement is expected today.

Senderoff, 34, could not be reached Monday. The voice mail message on his university-issued phone had been changed to say that he can no longer be reached at that number and will not check any messages left there.

IU head coach Kelvin Sampson and athletic director Rick Greenspan were not available for interviews Monday.

Senderoff was told on Friday, the same day he was absent from a basketball practice open to the public, that he had three days to turn in his resignation. He did so, and will receive a severance package from the university.

Two weeks ago, when IU announced that the men’s basketball team broke recruiting rules, it said that Senderoff was the coach who connected Sampson to recruits about 10 times via three-way calls. That violated previous sanctions placed on Sampson as a result of impermissible calls he and his staff made at Oklahoma.

It also said that Senderoff made unreported calls to recruits from his home phone that exceeded the number of calls allowed to a recruit, which is usually considered a secondary violation by the NCAA. In all, the coaching staff made about 100 calls that may constitute violations during Sampson’s first year at IU. The university is expected to release a full report on those transgressions, which were investigated by the Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller, as soon as today.

Sampson said during a teleconference two weeks ago to discuss the violations — the only time he has spoken about them — that he did not believe Senderoff had purposely broken the rules to gain an advantage in recruiting.

“The area where Rob made his mistakes, you have mistakes of omission and mistakes of commission,” Sampson said. “I don’t think there was an intention here to circumvent the rules.”

The Herald-Times has learned that some of the calls Senderoff made that were deemed impermissible by the Ice Miller review were to former recruit Bud Mackey and his guardians. According to sources in Georgetown, Ky., — Mackey’s hometown — the 6-foot-4 guard was often difficult to reach because he spent time living in three different homes. After he verbally committed to IU last October, he struggled academically and considered transferring to a private school. Mackey and his family often turned to Senderoff for guidance, according to those sources.

At the same time IU revealed the violations it implemented self-imposed sanctions, including several against Senderoff. He was not allowed to recruit off campus or make phone calls to recruits. He was also not going to receive a raise or bonus. Greenspan said during the teleconference that those punishments, along with the loss of a scholarship, “were significant, they were severe and they were appropriate.”

Senderoff’s replacement — likely to be current director of basketball operations and former IU assistant coach and player Dan Dakich — will also not be able to recruit off campus or call recruits.

A native of Long Island and graduate of the University of Albany, Senderoff had successfully recruited the New York City area. His work led Devin Ebanks, one of the top 20 players in the class of 2008, to verbally commit to IU and brought other star players, most notably Lance Stephenson, for visits to Bloomington. Stephenson is considered one of the top high school juniors in the country.

Prior to joining Sampson’s staff last year, Senderoff was an assistant coach at Kent State. He has also worked at Towson, Yale and Fordham.

He and his wife, Lauren, have a daughter and are expecting another baby.